What You Don’t Know Can Kill You
When you think about traveling in the United States you are not so concerned about what to do if one of the children get sick, you have a flat tire or perhaps you are involved in some kind of accident. We know to contact AAA or call 911, go to Urgent Care, an emergency room, and all will be taken care of. Not so when you are traveling in a foreign country. There are a few things you need to prepare for even before you leave.
- Copy of your passport, ID, credit cards, contact information, and itinerary.
- Buy travel insurance when you book your trip. If you need medical treatment or have to cancel your trip, you’re covered.
- Do you know where the American Consulant or Embassy are located in respect to where you’ll be?
- Where can you exchange money?
- What is the medical care like there?
- Local disease outbreaks
- Check with the State Department for warnings.
- List of places not to chance. Moscow is pretty safe, but off the beaten path it can be pretty scary. Know where not to get off the bus.
In Botswana we were out in the bush. Besides taking a small plane to Camp Okavango, we traveled by boat to Camp Moremi. My constant thought was would a rude hippo decide to add me to a list of dead tourists’ statistics. One night a very large one rubbed up alongside our tent (exactly where my head was) and continued on (thank you, Jesus) to the Okavango River. Just before we left Camp Moremi and boarded our plane at a little airfield about the width of a ping-pong table (Okay, maybe it was a little bigger) an elephant strolled across, followed by a troop of baboons! I developed a stutter and pointed. The pilot shrugged.
On the way to that airfield our vehicle got stuck in the mud. Again. No gun. No cell phone. No AAA. I stayed in the open-air vehicle while the driver and our clever engineer husbands created a way to escape. This could have been bad. Not the hippo-is-going-to-eat-me bad, but still…
I did do my homework. It was my first time out of the country so I researched the heck out of where I would be going. It paid off. Even so, I learned so much. Like when I was in this tiny town in South Africa where we spent the night and mosquitoes buzzed us all night. I slept with the covers over my head because I was afraid I’d contact malaria. The next morning, I discovered it was the wrong time of year to be worried about malaria. I took the meds anyway. I also treated myself to a daily dose of Ampicillin.
The point is no matter where you go, be prepared. Do your research. From Branson, Missouri to Beijing, China know where you’re going and be prepared for mishaps, food poisoning, delays, and no towels. Learn a little of the language, be up on their current affairs, and try to be invisible (no flashy jewelry or expensive gadgets). You know, like you’re traveling in New York City after dark in the Bronx. Be a smart traveler. This goes for Chicago too!
The World’s Most Dangerous Places is one of my go-to books for research and an old-fashion spine tingle.
This concludes my posts on Africa. If you enjoyed reading about my mishap adventures you should try the Enigma Series. I tried to make them fun, romantic, adventurous, action packed and thrilling. Romancing the Stone meets True Lies kind of an experience. Are you up for it? Then buckle up.